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31 October 2023

LOUIS VUITTON X AKRIVIA

By In Akrivia, General, Hype Market, Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton, the French fashion maison that all of you well know, is currently reinforcing its relationship with watchmaking through strategic moves that reflect its interest towards the world of haute horlogerie and its commitment to strengthen the group’s (LVMH) position on the luxury market. Indeed, 2023 has been characterized by significant news that involved Louis Vuitton and Arnault family, such as the relaunch of brands like Daniel Roth and Gerald Genta, the introduction on the market of the new Louis Vuitton Tambour, and the latest collaboration with Akrivia.

Akrivia

Akrivia is a relatively young but highly respected Swiss independent brand that was founded in 2012 by Rexhep Rexhepi, a young and talented watchmaker with Albanian origins who emigrated to Switzerland when he was fourteen. The main characteristics Akrivia maison is famous for are its attention to detail, the respect of Swiss watchmaking tradition and the creation of complex timepieces, often incorporating high-precision mechanical movements. Its production is quite limited and each Akrivia watch is handcrafted, making it a very exclusive brand within the world of fine watchmaking. The models designed by this atelier range from traditional complications, such as the chronograph, to tourbillons and other complex features. Akrivia has become a household name among watch enthusiasts and collectors seeking extraordinary timepieces and the highest quality craftsmanship.

Rexhep Rexhepi Chronometre Contemporain in rose gold and enameled dial. The dial is signed by Rexhep Rexhepi, Akrivia's founder
Rexhep Rexhepi Chronometre Contemporain – Photo courtesy of Akrivia
Akrivia x Louis Vuitton

The Akrivia and LV collaboration comes under the name “LVRR-01 Chronographe à Sonnerie” and it offers an innovative watch, limited to 10 pieces only, that fuses two high complications in one wristwatch for the first time: the chronograph and the acoustic complication, embodying the Louis Vuitton’s rich heritage and the innovation of atelier Akrivia. The LVRR-01 caliber is housed within the Tambour case with some touches of Rexhep Rexhepi, like the sloping bezel and the sculpted lugs. Honestly, we would have expected a case showing a completely different design from any other reference of the two brands to host such an innovative caliber, but probably it is a design code used to create even more focus on the Tambour model and on the connection with Louis Vuitton. The case measures 39.5 mm wide and just over 12 mm in height, making the watch not exactly slim, but it can be granted given the inclusion of two dials that give the watch a unique look.

Louis Vuitton x Akrivia LVRR-01 "Chronometre à Sonnerie" front side
Louis Vuitton x Akrivia LVRR-01 “Chronometre à Sonnerie” – Photo courtesy of Akrivia

The LVRR-01 features a double-sided chronograph, powered by a new tourbillon movement designed by Rexhep Rexhepi that rotates every 5 minutes, as happened on historical chronometers. On the front side, the LVRR-01 highlights the mechanism and on the rear side it is possible to spot the chronograph. The movement relies on a twin-barrel architecture, as it usually happens with acoustic watches. One power source is devoted to the timekeeping portion of the movement and the chronograph, while the other powers the chiming function, but Rexhep Rexhepi has devised a construction where the second barrel is linked to the gear train without making them run independently. Indeed, once the chronograph is activated and the central mobile is released by the hammer, the rotation from the second barrel is no longer blocked so that the energy is supplied to the base gear when the chronograph and striking mechanism are running, guaranteeing sufficient energy to both the complications to function properly, without disturbing the timekeeping mechanism. Visible through the dial, it is possible to spot the acoustic mechanism as well as the second barrel linked to a secondary escapement featuring jewelled pallets. Such escapement releases the energy of the second barrel cyclically, ensuring the sonnerie to strike precisely and regularly.

Louis Vuitton x Akrivia LVRR-01 “Chronometre à Sonnerie” – Photo courtesy of Swisswatches Magazine

Looking at the dial you can see six gold cubes that act as indexes, which are filled with a translucent enamel with an appearance reminiscent of colored glass. Those familiar with the Louis Vuitton watch catalog will undoubtedly recognize the angular crown that harks back to the original Tambour. As you’ve come to expect from Rexhepi, the movement is perfectly hand-decorated, with lots of anglages and black polishing. This front side of the watch echoes Akrivia’s decidedly avant-garde nature and is signed as such, but a standout feature is the emblem on the sapphire dial, which features a meticulously cast logo: a blend of LV within AKRIVIA that brings AKRILVIA to life (first time Louis Vuitton intertwines its logo with that of another brand).

Louis Vuitton x Akrivia LVRR-01 "Chronometre à Sonnerie" rear side showing the chronograph with enameled dial
Louis Vuitton x Akrivia LVRR-01 “Chronometre à Sonnerie” – Photo courtesy of Akrivia

Turning the watch to its back reveals a much more reserved visual presentation: a glossy white grand feu enamel dial with Louis Vuitton and Rexhep Rexhepi branding, and two concentric tracks in blue and red indicating the chronograph seconds and minutes respectively. However, the simplicity of the dial hides the unique sonnerie complication that chimes with each passing minute when the chronograph is operated, making the watch absolutely interesting and unique.

Louis Vuitton x Akrivia LVRR-01 "Chronometre à Sonnerie" rear side to see the amazingly decorated movement signed by Louis Vuitton and Rexhep Rexhepi
Louis Vuitton x Akrivia LVRR-01 “Chronometre à Sonnerie” – Photo courtesy of Akrivia

The platinum case bears witness to the meeting between Louis Vuitton’s signature Tambour design and the elegant touches of Rexhep Rexhepi. But even if the case is made by Atelier Akrivia, an important contribution was given by the master Jean-Pierre Hagmann, famous designer of wristwatch cases, since he has a portfolio of rather well-known clients such as Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe and Blancpain . His initials can be found in the lower right lug of the watch. Every detail is important, from the crown to the beveled button and the hand-hammered decoration, all of them praising the collaborative spirit between the different personalities who took part in the project.

The Louis Vuitton x Akrivia LVRR-01 comes in a special hand-painted Louis Vuitton trunk where there is also a label showing the names of the artisans involved. Another impressive feature is the included booklet, which shows the development journey of this watch.

Louis Vuitton x Akrivia LVRR-01 box incredibly hand made
Louis Vuitton x Akrivia LVRR-01 box – Photo courtesy of Akrivia

As Jean Arnault (Director Of Watches At Louis Vuitton) states in an interview talking about the LVRR-01, “these watches have a soul” and this underlines how important it is becoming for the Louis Vuitton brand to create watches that are no longer fashionable but lasting over time. Finally, it’s time to also mention the price of this watchmaking masterpiece. The price of one of the ten Louis Vuitton x Akrivia LVRR-01 is around €500.000, a price that is definitely not within everyone’s reach, but which does not make it less attractive to wealthy watch enthusiasts.

Written by Antonio Branca

Born in 1994, first a passion for watches and then for architecture and Harley Davidson. As with buildings he has a great interest in materials, technologies and timepiece design.